Gripes & Graplings

Friday, March 03, 2006

Three Golliwogs

To quote the wonderful Victor Meldrew, I don't believe it!

Police have only gone and raided a shop in Bromyard, Herefordshire because the owner had three golliwogs in a window display!

What on earth is this country coming to?

Robinson's GollyEvidently a member of the public had complained that they were offensive so our boys in blue, ever ready and willing to protect Joe Public from harm, marched into the shop and snatched the golliwogs out of the display, leaving the owner in a state of severe flabbergastation!

While I understand that the original Golliwog, developed in the US during the late 1800s, was based on the Negro minstrels with the name incorporating the word 'wog', an obviously derogotory term once used to describe black people, surely our society has moved on since then? Modern Golliwogs are just rag dolls that happen to be black. There are plenty of white faced rag dolls around; maybe we should take offence at them, too? But ok, let's be a little more politically correct and call them "Gollies". Surely that's not offensive?

I'm not racist, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I sometimes think we're doing minority groups an injustice through the kid glove treatment we tend to give them. Ultimately, doesn't this kind of behaviour actually increase racist tendencies? Remember do-gooders demanding that blackboards be replaced with whiteboards, black bin bags replaced with green bags, and black out blinds renamed light eradicating blinds? Dear, oh dear!

Anyway, it's just as well that red compliments blue, because some very red faces had to return the black faced soft toys to the shop because, regardless of how offended the member of the public felt, it isn't actually illegal to either sell, display or own a golliwog. However, section 5 of the Public Order Act does outlaw the display of material that might cause or is likely to lead to alarm, harassment or distress. Fair enough, but what would happen if I called the police and told them I felt distressed because a local toy shop was displaying naked dolls that might excite paedophiles, for example? How do we actually decide what is and isn't offensive, etc.?

But all of this still begs the question: why the raid? Wouldn't you have thought the police would have perhaps had a word with the shopkeeper about his display rather than doing the heavy mob bit? Maybe it was just a quiet day and for the want of something better to do, they figured it'd kill some time? No doubt they'll be cursing over the paperwork, though!

And there was me thinking the police were there to fight crime! Easy enough mistake to make, I s'pose.

Related Links:
Save Our Golliwogs
News Story from The Telegraph



  • Well, I can't decide if 1)I'm sorry to see that Political Correctness has crossed the pond or 2)glad to know it's not just us Colonialists here in America who are taking these things to a ridiculous extreme.

    By Blogger Granimore, at 30/3/06 17:38  

  • Without wanting to upset you Granimore, I would have be far happier had all this madness stayed on your side of the puddle - we were getting along perfectly ok without it. I can understand why it'd please you to know you're not alone though.

    By Anonymous Sharon J, at 2/4/06 13:25  

  • I think the Golliwogs are cute. I don't see black people as Golliwogs therefor I dont find them as offensive in any way. If people do find them offensive it's only because when they look at one they see a black person. Seriously, it's time to move on. Nobody looks like a Golliwog. These things are just wonderful and when you look at them you know they have a story to tell. Maybe an adventure. I love them. Besides, I don't think white people look like Raggedy Ann or Andy... Come on! Who has a triangle nose??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21/8/06 16:15  

  • And that, Anonymous, is exactly my point :-)

    By Anonymous Sharon J, at 21/8/06 19:27  

  • I don't care what anyone says you could be the "Queen of Sheba" to the "Queen of England" golliwogs were created to offend black people. You can say i'm paranoid and "everything racist in your eyes" but the fact is golliwogs are aim at BLACK PEOPLE..........

    By Anonymous Black and Proud, at 1/2/07 23:32  

  • A shop round the corner where I work have brand new Golliwogs on display amongst all sorts of nationalistic British staff such as union jack on cups,etc. I was surprised to see that you could still buy brand new Golliwogs, I thought that they were banned in the UK since the 80' and that the word wog was considered derogatory. The question I want to ask here is why they have been banned? They've been banned because they were considered offensive and patronizing towards black people and in fact were used, as black and proud states" to bully and belittle people" and I, to add:" who didn't have the privilege to be born white". Golliwogs are racist. The history of the golliwog and the time it was created is a bit different from a barbie doll ( Ok barbie doll's are sexist but it is not the issue here, we'll talk about it some other time). Behind the little cute doll, is hidden the spectre of slavery, colonization, humiliation of an entire culture and a lot of suffering, blood and tears. All right then (sigh) let's move on, but on one condition: Respect for human's suffering past and history, for the moment I don't see any, what I see so far are the the comments of selfish, short term memory people incapable of empathy. I agree we have to move on but in a positive way and think over what has happened in the past in order to build a better future. But I don't think that by encouraging the sale of the "little cute dolls " we are working towards it, because these dolls are heavy in meaning and it stirs the anger (rightly though) amongst some people of OUR community whose ancestors have been badly wronged for no reason at all, Ooops sorry! yes there is a reason they didn't have the presence of mind to be white! so they could be traded and degraded. I have got a suggestion to make lets bring back into fashion the nazi flag, nice badge! 6 millions deaths++++, but I am sure it would look "awesome" for some cute people. X. Nadia Elisha

    By Anonymous Nadja, at 30/11/07 23:29  

  • Well....i for one do think this racism thing has gone a bit too mixed raced so i am a rather neutral player in the game. i do not think golliwogs are aimed at hurting black people.if they were, im sure theyd of been given a much worse image than what they actually were given. i also think the state has gone abit too far in the sense that it is treating people unequal because some people eggadurate and say things are racist-for example; blackboards being changed to whiteboards because calling them BLACKboards is racist to black people.well if thats true, isnt calling them WHITEboards racist to white people??a colours a colour.if ur black..ur black,if ur white..ur white,if ur what!! hu cares? maybe thts the thing-people get bored with the fact that no1 does infact care and thats like the attention they get from being a social target.And racism does go both ways-white people do get bullied by black people also. but what about this....maybe people arent trying to be racist-theyre just jelous of you and kno that your insecurity is infact your race and so take the piss outta u for that? if u were actually proud of being black-u wouldnt care about what people say about black people. when someone calls me a white bitch or a black bitch i,i am, and wot? because i dont care and neither should u.the fact is this everyone:this is england,if u dont like it....fuckoff and stop draining my bank account!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/1/08 20:39  

  • I think blacks should just learn to live with the fact they are an ugly black color.

    They are our inferior and if God wanted them to have opinions they would be white.

    Dipalya your Gollies with pride.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13/6/08 14:55  

  • The Negro should simply admit they look funny to us.

    Our kids learn to love blacks by playing with golliwogs.

    Blacks have black faces thats why they are call blacks.

    Cant they just accept they are not white and stop moaning about their ugly faces.

    They should be thanking whites that we are even talking to them.

    They would moan if we ignored them.

    They are just so fussy. WHy dont they tell their Pickanninies you are gollies, just accept it.

    They spoil all our fun. Enid Blyton wrote the Three Golliwogs, she named them NIGGER, WOGGIE and GOLLY.

    The PC Brigade have changed it to WIGGIE, WAGGIE and WOLLIE. WHY SHOULD THEY CHANGE HER WORDS!

    Why do we have to change to suit these people. They also cannot laugh at themselves like white people can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13/6/08 15:01  

  • Golly is great! Please leave him alone!

    Golly is a kind and gentle doll.

    He is happy to be with those who love him.

    He is happy to be bought by people in the UK and across the world.

    We love Golly and he loves us!

    Support your local shops who keep him ever popular!

    By Blogger Andy, at 10/9/08 17:56  

  • I can’t quite believe some of the ridiculous comments posted in this discussion, many of which I will not grace with a response!
    I do believe that in some cases political correctness can be taken too far however having been a mixed race child growing up in a predominantly white working class area, one became accustom to being called gollywog or wog!
    Never will I see this character as "cute" or "sweet".
    No matter what anyone says gollywogs have way too many
    connotations attached to them and those who do not understand have obviously grown up basking in their own cocoon!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30/6/09 23:26  

  • No one's ever going to agree on this, there will always be people who take offence and people who dont understand why. Racist comments like that will not help anything and are disgusting, shows how much of a coward you are that you hide behind anonymous profile. I am white with some black family and believe everyone should be equal and I can understand how golly can be taken as offensive and yes it should be banned but as for the blackboards and baa baa black sheep, thats taking it a bit too far.

    By Blogger KittyCat26, at 9/8/10 19:20  

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